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Flameseeker Chronicles: NPCs and culling and beedogs, oh my

It's good to have memorable characters. It's important, in a game, to have the sort of characters that players can look back on a month or a year or a lifetime later and think, "Yeah, I remember that NPC." In that sense, I guess ArenaNet has succeeded admirably in the case of Rox the Charr Ranger. I'll remember her until my dying day.

... Mostly because she absolutely petrifies me.

Have you seen this lady's eyes? They were clearly made for soul-eating. They're half the size of her face (maybe this is why the baby devourer thinks she's its mommy?), far more cartoony than pretty much anything else in the game, and more saccharine than the fluffy pink quaggan backpacks with bows and hearts. I don't know whether it makes it better or worse that she's got a fairly normal Charr lady voice.

Rox was introduced to us, of course, in the Flame and Frost: The Razing patch that came out at the end of March. Let's see what's been going down in the world of Guild Wars 2 since then.

Flameseeker Chronicles NPCs and culling and beedogs, oh my
The Razing has brought in some new living story content, including a couple of instances. Instances are a cool way to take the plot because they work more like the personal story, which I'd love to see expanded in the game before we get to a real expansion. Since ArenaNet doesn't make use of quests the way we typically experience them to lead players through existing content, the personalization of the living story line could play a big part in giving characters significant content to lead them through maps. I say significant because while there's been open-world stuff like the refugee relics, the sonar spy things from this month, and all the sign-building from the Prelude, none of that really gave a meaningful and extended interaction with the storyline. They were great by way of introduction, but I'm pleased to see real action coming into play.

The instances you'll find in The Razing have you fighting alongside two new characters, which is also a good thing in my opinion. Why? Let's be real: The iconic characters can't do everything. One of the new characters is Rox, whom I like very well aside from her madness-inducing eyes. The other is Braham Eirsson. If the name didn't give it away, he's, well, Eir's son. There's some real familial tension there -- probably because, at roughly 18 or so, Braham is either just getting into or just getting out of that angsty phase when parents know nothing and, like, gosh, why can't anyone just understand him? (Or maybe not.) I know that Norn typically live a little longer than humans, but I'm not super sure how that relates to emotional maturity. Either way, his hair is pretty and I'm super disappointed that while we can apparently make (female Charr) characters with Rox's horns now, I can't share his magnificent 'do. So far as I can determine, Braham's main character strengths are having beautiful hair, a noble heart full of ambition, and a knack for breathing heavily at plot-reinforced doors in order to open them.

Flameseeker Chronicles NPCs and culling and beedogs, oh my
Last week we talked about the final removal of culling from WvW and what that might mean in terms of lag and whether or not that'd be a step forward, backward, or sideways. In my totally personal and subjective opinion of my totally personal and subjective experience since the patch, it's been, uh, pretty amazingly successful. I've got my settings in a modest range; I have my character limit set at High and character quality set at Medium. I've been able to set them for Highest for some medium-sized fights, but I don't really want to get into a massive battle and then discover the limitations of my machine, so I voluntarily scaled that back. Anyway.

Clearly, being able to see folks on the battlefield is crucial for tactical reasons. But it's also such a totally different experience to see absolutely everyone. I'm not sure, now, if I'd ever really had a grasp on the scale of some of the bigger fights I've been in. There was an assault on our garrison one of the nights I was playing last week that was just an incredibly different experience, both from the rush of seeing every single person fighting with me and from being able to actually understand where the threats were and where battle was flowing. I'm pretty much over the moon at this improvement, and I applaud the folks who made it work.

Flameseeker Chronicles NPCs and culling and beedogs, oh my
The Super Adventure Box is just this side of being brand-new. It's been out since the start of April Fools' Day, it'll be around through the end of the month, and it's worth checking out (or at least reading up on).

As I'm writing this, I've been through normal mode only once since the patch went live. That means I'm roughly 12% of the way toward my first Super weapon skin. I'm planning on picking up the greatsword for my Asura Mesmer because sweet baby bunnies, are those skins ever wonderful. I don't really want to get burnt out on the Box, so I don't know how hard I'll press for more after I get that skin. It looks like they can drop from chests inside the Box, as well, so I guess there's hope that everyone will be selling skins like crazy and maybe they won't always cost 60 gold. Also, I hope you don't like axes, suckers! Or any of the handful of other weapons that don't get a skin. Every profession has at least one weapon that's represented by the Super skins, but it may not be the weapon of your choice.

I'm a little awed at how much content is in the Super Adventure Box. I mean, I played through it for the press preview event, so I figured that I'd pretty much seen the main path and that all the other stuff would just be little rooms hidden away, but that's not really the case at all because there are two parallel paths at one point and there's this deep dark under-wood area that is really intimidating to me. If I don't have a post next week, you'll know that I delved too greedily and too deep and awakened a beast of shadow and flame.

Elisabeth Cardy is a longtime Guild Wars player, a personal friend of Rytlock Brimstone, and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column updates on Tuesdays and keeps a close eye on Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. Email Elisabeth at

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